Interns more likely to be hired as full-time employees

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Tanner Huber, left, and Casey Yates work as interns at Wallaroo Media in downtown Provo. Wallaroo media hires almost exclusively from its pool of interns and is always searching for new talent. (Aley Davis)

Interns — especially paid interns — are more likely to be hired full-time compared to normal applicants, according to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Utah professional and Wallaroo Media CEO and founder Brandon Doyle agrees.

“We value interns immensely,” Doyle said. “We have hired almost exclusively from our interns.”

Doyle said Wallaroo’s four-month internship allows the company to observe how hard potential employees work, how eager they are to learn new skills and how well they fit within the company.

Potential Wallaroo employees typically start as interns, then transition to part-time employees for a few months before receiving a full-time offer. Doyle said he’s only deviated from this hiring process twice.

The study found paid internships turn into official job offers about 65 percent of the time, while unpaid internships produce job offers 39 percent of the time. Outside applicants are hired 37 percent of the time.

Unpaid internships provide students with good opportunities to immerse themselves in a chosen field early in their academic career, but paid internships often allow students greater opportunities to be hired and to experience higher job satisfaction, according to the study.

Stuart Dean handles business development and strategic alliances at Utah tech company NUVI. He said even though his company has a smaller internship program, NUVI is still more likely to hire from interns.

“There is no doubt interns have an advantage to be hired for many full-time positions as they become available,” Dean said.

Dean said interns have impressed him over the years with their knowledge and contributions, and he anticipates the program will grow in the future.

BYU master’s of accountancy student Matthew Adams said accounting firms place an especially high value on interns. He said students often begin seeking out internship opportunities as early as three years in advance, and he signed a contract with accounting firm PwC nearly 13 months before his actual internship.

You almost have to do an internship to get your foot in the door,” Adams said. “If you don’t do an internship and they don’t know you, then they’ll take an intern over you most of the time unless you’re gold-plated.”

Adams said interns typically make $22.50 an hour for a 10-week period at accounting firms such as PwC.

Director of MBA career services at BYU Christopher Clason said he agrees many firms have developed internship programs as a primary source of full-time talent. Clason said he first noticed the importance of interns when working as an HR executive.

“As a former HR executive with Fortune 100 companies, I always preferred to hire candidates that had been interns with us because they knew from experience if our firm was a good fit, and I knew their capabilities,” Clason said.

Clason said unpaid internships are available on campus for business students, but off-campus business internship programs are very rarely unpaid. These internships are usually paid because they help businesses assess potential employees, according to Clason.

“Regardless of a full time offer with the same firm where a student does an internship, it is clear that high quality internships with good firms is essential in seeking a full time job,” Clason said.

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